Optometry is a demanding field, but it takes hard work and patience to get there. The amount of time it takes to become an optometrist depends on the person and the pace they are moving. Typically, it takes a minimum of seven to eight years to become an optometrist.
Optometry school requirements
Before someone can be an optometrist, that person has to complete an undergraduate bachelor’s program, which typically takes four years. The courses you take vary depending on which college you attend, but the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry recommends that you take these courses:
- General Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- General Physics
We also had to take a test known as the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), which tested us on natural sciences, reading comprehension, physics, and quantitative reasoning. You can choose to take the test a few years into your bachelor’s program or after. You can also take it more than once.
Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you’ll attend an optometry program to receive a Doctor of Optometry degree (OD). You will have to complete all requirements of the four-year program, so researching them ahead of time is a good idea.
Licensing and practice
Depending on which state you live in, becoming licensed to practice optometry can vary. However, all states require that you hold a Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited school and have to pass your state license examination.
We’re expected to take continuing education courses for our license renewal. Optometrists must be willing to learn and continue to improve because even after receiving our license to practice, our learning doesn’t stop.